Expectations. And goals. What is the difference? In my experience too high or wrong expectations is the biggest challenge in all relationships. I have seen it ruining marriages, friendships and teamwork. Each individual sees the world his/her own unique way, therefore it is difficult to understand what is going on in another’s head. Communication helps. It is necessary to say out what you expect and agree on that. If someone is hired and the company does not explain well enough the expectations they have for the person, then it is company’s fault if the employee does not fulfill those.
Another side of expectations is the pressure that comes from too high expectations. A few weeks ago I participated a lecture about innovation. It inspired me. I found three quotes that have been with me ever since:
“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” (Elon Musk)
“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” (Salvador Dali)
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” (Michelangelo)
The last one I used even on a cover photo in my mastermind group for creative leadership. However, yesterday it started a discussion. When and where it is OK to have high expectations? For me there is a line between high expectations on people and having high goals. I am a big fan of high goals. I like the saying “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” (Norman Vincent Peale) High goals give me the best energy. I visualize them, I dream of them, I say those out loud. It is empowering. Then I take those big goals and break down to small pieces. There are steps to get there. This way there is no pressure. It is OK if everything does not go perfectly. It is OK to get feedback and improve. It is OK to fail with some ideas. I enjoy the progress, the little wins and the lessons learned, also the energy from doing something new and the energy from learning. I love this. Really.
But, coming back to high expectations on people, the energy is different. If I feel that I am expected to be perfect (which I am not and noone is), I feel pressure. I feel it is not OK to make mistakes. I feel that I am expected to get ‘there’ too quickly without the opportunity to learn and practice. For me, that takes all the joy away. It just gives bad feeling that ends up in a ‘freeze’ mindset – I do not want to do it anymore.
When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are and give them the freedom to learn and develop themselves in a joyful way. Then, and I believe it from the bottom of my heart, we really can achieve those unbelievable goals we wish to achieve! Go out and start doing the things you would like to do. It is more than OK if they are not perfect. Learning and improving is what makes each moment of living on this planet a wonderful experience!